Resveratrol: The Wine-Lover's Secret To Great Skin

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ingredients-resveratrolPhoto: Courtesy of Skinceuticals.
As people with extraordinarily elaborate skin-care routines, we pride ourselves on using products with the most effective ingredients around. Of course, this involves actually knowing what those ingredients are. And, boy, are there a lot of ingredients out there. In Know Your Ingredients, our new ongoing series, we'll be decoding the many oils, acids, extracts, and more that appear in our favorite products.

It's no secret that we enjoy ourselves some wine. Grapes aren't too shabby either, which is why when all that news started hitting back in the day about the anti-aging powers of resveratrol —an antioxidant found in grapes, as well as a few other nuts, berries, and plants — we weren't too surprised. Clearly, our tastebuds were onto something.

So, what makes this such an anti-aging superstar? "It neutralizes free radicals, preventing them from doing the damage to the skin that causes signs of aging, such as wrinkles and uneven tone and texture," explains Caudalie founder Mathilde Thomas. "It’s the reason for the 'French paradox' – red wine contains resveratrol, and we’ve come to discover it’s how the French have culturally maintained a diet high in fat, yet with a low incidence of heart disease."

According to dermatologist Dr. Patty Farris, the best way to reap the benefits of resveratrol is through a serum that you apply at night. "The entire body goes into repair mode at night. During the day, the skin is subjected to environmental aggressors like UV light, pollution, etc, which is why nighttime is the ideal time to repair skin damage. At night, resveratrol helps neutralize damaging oxidative stress and improves the skin's natural healing process by boosting natural antioxidants."

Resveratrol is definitely a buzzword ingredient, meaning everyone is touting its benefits on their various lotions and potions, but not all resveratrols are created equally. Or, more specifically, not all delivery systems are created equal. In order to make sure you are getting the most out of this powerhouse, Dr. Farris says to look for topically applied formulations with a concentration of at least 1% — they will be more effective than anything ingestible, she says.

If you're new to the resveratrol trend and are looking for a place to start, Caudalie's entire line-up is based upon the healing benefits of grapes and a favorite of our editors, so you really can't go wrong there. Dr. Farris notes that Skinceuticals new Resveratrol B E night treatment features a super-stabilized (and hence, highly effective) delivery system for the antioxidant called hydrotropes. "These hydrotropes have two sides – one that attracts water (hydrophilic) and one that attracts resveratrol (hydrophobic). The hydrophilic side helps the hydrophobic side with resveratrol dissolve in an aqueous solution."

Still need convincing? Thomas and Farris have some parting thoughts for you. "A little-known fact about resveratrol is that it’s a dual antioxidant," says Dr. Farris. "It neutralizes free radicals on its own, and also stimulates the NRF-2 pathway to help the body start making its own antioxidants." Adds Thomas, "This is the hottest anti-aging molecule —it's great to add to your daily regimen and it plays well with retinols. I think everyone should have a good sunscreen, retinol, and resveratrol product." Noted!

Skinceuticals Resveratrol B E, $145, available at Skinceuticals.